El Paso County Judge announces two-week shutdown for non-essential businesses


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego announced a two-week shutdown for non-essential businesses starting on Oct. 30 at midnight.

The announcement was made during a press conference on Thursday.

El Paso County leaders released a list of places that are still open:

  • Polling sites
  • Schools that provide meal services
  • Childcare facilities
  • Grocery Stores
  • Funeral Services
  • All healthcare offices and facilities
  • Pharmacies
  • Government operations
  • Post offices
  • Retail-to-Go Services

A list of non-essential services that are to close for two weeks:

  • Tattoo parlors
  • Hair salons
  • Nail salons
  • Gyms
  • Massage businesses
  • In-person dining

Officials pointed to the number of hospitalizations in El Paso County as the reason for the shutdown of non-essential businesses. Officials noted that El Paso would in danger of running out of hospital beds, including the beds at the El Paso Convention Center if the high number of new hospitalizations continue.

“If the trend continues in that same direction we would exhaust these same resources including using the convention center, using the tents at the different hospitals, all of that would be exhausted if we continue in that direction,” Samaniego said.

The County Judge added that the order worked well the first time it was issued back in March, “When we focused strictly on public health and try to minimize the economy, that in essence was the reason we were able to open the economy.”

In regards to the legal controversy of superseding Governor Greg Abbott’s order, Samaniego shared that he met with his legal department and feels like this decision stands strong in legal ground, adding this is something he “needs” to do at this time.

“The Governor stated, and I want to clarify, ‘local officials do have levels of flexibility to make sure they are able to contain the spread of COVID-19.’ I am hopeful that the government will recognize it as a short term remedy needed to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Samaniego said, “The hard truth is that the people who are dying are El Pasoans. They are not in Austin, and I have a responsibility to do everything I can to protect El Paso.”

You can view the conference in the player below:

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